We’re now two rounds in to the 2022 season, you drove superbly at Snetterton, not a safety car, Code 60 or red flag in sight. At Thruxton however we did see a little winter rust/brain fade creep in, with regards to safety cars and red flag, a number of drivers narrowly avoiding Motorsport UK penalties on this occasion. We’re here to help and ensure that you all enjoy your racing experience. Whether you are an old hand, a newcomer to racing, or the series (welcome), please spend a moment reading this to see what went wrong and how to avoid it in the future.
Complete racers know the rule book:
The very best racers are not just fast on the track, they also know the rules, so read the relevant sections of the Blue Book, plus the final instructions that the CSCC issue and listen carefully at the briefing. Trust your knowledge, don’t be a Lemming and ‘fall over the cliff’ by assuming the driver ahead of you is doing the right thing! The Blue Book can be viewed here: https://www.motorsportuk.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/12/BB-2022-low-res-complete-April-2022-4.pdf
Safety Car: Reduce Speed
Part of Blue Book Apdx 3, 1.6. says: All competing cars, when notified of the Safety Car intervention (by the flag signals, “SC” boards, or by any other means) will reduce speed and line up behind the Safety Car………
We acknowledge that ‘reduce speed’ is open to interpretation and how much reduction depends on your typical lap time under racing conditions. The safety car will circulate at a speed requested by race control, with the aim to have one Crocodile of cars following it, giving the Marshals and recovery team a sufficiently large window to resolve the incident in safety.
If you drive too fast you will worry or even endanger the Marshals and will likely hamper recovery efforts.
If you drive too slowly (this was a problem at Thruxton) you will create multiple, smaller Crocodiles behind you, slowing recovery, ruining the race for others and yourself.
You should reduce your speed, so you’re in full control of your car, with no sliding and no need to ride kerbs. If you have clear line of sight, on a straight or open corner for example, with no circuit vehicles or bodies trackside then by all means use a good amount of throttle. When approaching an incident, or a crest/tighter corner then reduce speed as appropriate. Speed up as the track/conditions/visibility allows and repeat.
For those of you in race leading cars then 75% of your usual lap time will still see you catch the safety car in good order. If you are typically at the back of the grid, then a pace somewhat closer to your usual lap time may be more appropriate. The slower Swinging Sixties cars were averaging less than a 70mph lap at race pace at Thruxton, nothing wrong with that at all, but, if you reduce your speed to, say 45mph under the safety car, you, and all those behind you may never catch the tail of the Crocodile. Next time you have a safety car and you look in the mirror and see a train of cars behind you and nothing ahead of you it’s probably an indication you should be travelling faster in some sections of the track.
Drivers who were adjudged to have driven with slightly too much caution under the safety car period have been politely spoken to this time.
Safety Car: Overtaking/Green Flag Familiarise yourself with Appendix 3: Operation of Safety car (a copy of this page is below). Any of you could be directly behind the safety car at the restart, so read and memorise the rules now, don’t assume it will always be a leader in front of you. There is strictly no overtaking/overlapping under the SC. When the Safety Car turns off its lights it is indicating that it is coming in at the end of the lap. All Marshals posts will show a waved green flag to indicate the SC is coming in. You may increase your pace, but there is strictly no overtaking until you have crossed the Safety Car Line, which is usually situated on the start finish straight. Please familiarise yourself with its exact location on track.
Anyone overtaking/overlapping before the SC line will receive a penalty. Waved green flags at the end of a SC period DO NOT mean you can now overtake. If you still have a mile of circuit ahead of you when the green flags are displayed and you are stuck behind a slower driver then you must patiently wait behind them (unless the driver clearly has a mechanical issue and waves you by). If you see others overtake, do not follow them (don’t be the Lemming), trust the system will penalise them, or pay a visit to the Clerks with video footage within 30 minutes of session end, as others have gained an unfair advantage.
Red Flag: Immediately cease driving at racing speed and proceed slowly, strictly no overtaking. During practice go into the pitlane, during the race return to the Grid as instructed by Marshals. DO NOT go into the pitlane unless clearly indicated to do so by Marshals and do not be the lemming if someone else in front of you does. (they may have a mechanical problem)
Yellow Flag: Familiarise yourself with the yellow flags rules. Strictly no overtaking under a single or double yellow flags. Overtaking cannot recommence until after you have passed the green flag after the incident (imagine a line 90 degrees out from the Marshal post). Failure to obey the yellow flag rules will ensure a penalty. If this happens in qualifying and you are excluded from the session be aware that you will go to the back of the reserve list (this is an MSUK rule).
Please ensure you are familiar with the Club pit stop regulations.
To avoid a penalty for speeding in the pitlane, spend a moment in the morning looking for the pit-in and pit-out lines (next to the speed limit signs). Many drivers from all series received penalties at Thruxton, principally because they started accelerating at the wrong line. Ensure you are familiar with the pit lane speed limit for that circuit (found in your Finals and ensure you have a means to measure your speed.
Single drivers, ensure you close your door after exiting the car before you get back in to avoid a penalty and most importantly don’t forget to turn your engine off.
Ensure your harness is secure over your FHR (if worn) before pulling away.
Enjoy safe racing!
Malcolm Johnson and Ian Everett Drivers Representatives Adams & Page Swinging Sixties